Aaron Paul, All Adventurous Women Do, Andrew Rannells, Anna Gunn, Arcade Fire, Best of 2012, Best TV Moments, Best TV Moments of 2012, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston, Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Dead Freight, Elisabeth Moss, Girls, Homeland, Jack Huston, Jessica Pare, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Lena Dunham, lists, Louie, Louis C.K., Mad Men, methylamine, Mick Jagger, Q&A, Richard Harrow, Saturday Night Live, She's a Rainbow, SNL, Television, The Other Woman, TV, Zou Bisou Bisou
Best of 2012: Top TV Moments of the Year (10-1)
We’re down to the top 10. Check back through the blog for the rest of the Top 70 TV Moments of 2012.
10. Mad Men – “A Little Kiss, Parts 1 & 2” – “Zou Bisou Bisou”
Jessica Paré needed to make an impact on the new season of Mad Men. She was fine in the fourth season but her proposal to Don did seem a little rushed. The new season begins and they are already married. How does the show introduce Megan in her new role as Mrs. Draper? She performs “Zou Bisou Bisou” in front of all of his colleagues at a dinner party in their Manhattan apartment. It could’ve been really corny and weird, but Jessica Paré sold every moment of the performance and made Megan fit in with the rest of the characters on the show. It was obvious that Don wasn’t going to have the same relationship with Megan that he had with Betty. It was a new dynamic for the show and it worked perfectly.
9. Girls – “She Did” – Hannah eating cake on the beach
The first season ended perfectly. Hannah breaks up with Adam and last sees him going off in an ambulance after a cab drives over his foot. She leaves the party to take a subway home. She ends up falling asleep and reaches the end of the line at Coney Island. She walks aimlessly before ending up finishing a piece of wedding cake on the beach. It’s a beautiful but funny moment that was the perfect bow to put on the finale. After all Hannah has been through in these 10 episodes, all she really wants is to find peace and stuff her face with wedding cake on the beach.
8. Breaking Bad – “Fifty-One” – Skyler goes into the pool
“Fifty-One” was Anna Gunn’s finest hour. I could pick out any moment from this episode involving Skylar because Gunn was brilliant in every single scene. I had to go with the pool scene. It might’ve been a little too on-the-nose. She’s obviously overwhelmed with everything involving Walt that she feels like she’s drowning. The moment where she walked into the pool was a visual representation of her emotions. It was gorgeously filmed and Gunn’s emotions in the water were absolutely breathtaking. This episode should be winning Gunn an Emmy in September. They need to get over the Maggie Smith love train.
7. Homeland – “Q&A” – Carrie takes over the interrogation
I know this moment is a little vague. Most of the episode is between Carrie and Brody, but I loved the moment where the lead interrogator switches from Quinn to Carrie. Quinn goes overboard and ends up stabbing Brody’s hand to the table. The investigation switches and Carrie is in charge. I loved the way the episode flipped. I knew only good things could come of having Damian Lewis & Claire Danes act opposite each other for most of the hour. They are both incredible actors and their level of performance increases when they work together. Both of them will probably repeat their Emmy wins in September with this episode.
6. Boardwalk Empire – “Margate Sands” – Richard takes back Tommy
Richard Harrow is one of the best things about Boardwalk Empire. Jack Huston kind of plays him as a wounded monster. He has trouble letting people in because he thinks they can’t get past his physical deformity. It’s a really interesting character and he had a lot of wonderful scenes in this previous season. His best one came from the finale. In the previous episode Gillian banned Richard from seeing Tommy because she was jealous. But Richard comes and rescues him in the finale. It’s a bloody end for a lot of Gyp’s henchman. It was better than most action sequences in the films this year. A thrilling sequence.
5. Mad Men – “The Other Woman” – Peggy says goodbye to Don
The relationship between Don & Peggy has been one of the strengths of Mad Men. It’s a teacher/student relationship with maybe a hint of sexual tension. It’s interesting to look back and see how their relationship has grown from the first season to this moment near the end of the fifth. Peggy has accepted a job at another advertising firm and gives her two weeks notice. Don tries to convince her to stay but she’s made up her mind. Don tells her she doesn’t need to wait two weeks. She can leave now. Peggy reaches out to shake his hand, but he ends up kissing it for an extended period of time. It’s hard to watch because you know Don needs Peggy. She realizes it in that moment but she’s made up her mind. It was an amazing scene and two of the best acting moments in the series from Jon Hamm & Elisabeth Moss.
4. Girls – “All Adventurous Women Do” – Hannah and Elijah reunite at the bar
I love this scene. I love, love, love it. I’ve almost memorized the whole scene because I’ve watched it so many times. In the earlier scene, Elijah tells Hannah that she’s gay. She spends the next one trying to process it while also trying to bring up the fact that she thinks he gave her an STD. The dialogue in this scene is absolutely perfect. But more than anything it’s the performances from Dunham & Rannells that make the scene work. These two people have dated for an extended period of time, so that history between them needs to be there. You actually believed that these two people dated at one time. They know exactly how to get under each other’s skin and press their buttons. The beginning of the conversation is very cordial and polite, then it devolves into name calling and cat fighting. It’s a great scene that I could watch over and over again.
3. Saturday Night Live – “Mick Jagger” – Goodbye to Kristen Wiig/”She’s a Rainbow”
Kristen Wiig was such a powerhouse during her tenure at SNL that they needed to make a big deal out of her exit. Her departure was not confirmed before the finale aired, but after they basically did a victory lap of her famous characters during the entire show…the writing was on the wall. The final sketch was a high school graduation led by Mick Jagger. He calls Kristen up to the stage and gives her a special goodbye. She strips off her grown to show off a beautiful beige two piece outfit. She begins dancing with Mick Jagger as Arcade Fire plays “She’s a Rainbow”. The backdrop goes away and she dances with each cast member. It was a beautiful tribute to Wiig and a fitting exit to somebody that was such an integral part of the show.
2. Louie – “New Year’s Eve” – Louie’s Christmas morning
Louie’s children are opening up gifts from Christmas morning. It should be a nice time for families to enjoy time together, especially parents seeing the reactions of the things they got for them. But Louie is just sitting on the couch looking tired and miserable. Then the show flashes back and shows how he got that way. He was fighting at the store for last-minute gifts. The best part comes when Louie’s oldest daughter is excited by a doll she got. It flashes back to the night before when Louie was wrapping the doll and realizes that her eyes were missing. They had fallen into the head. He had to do a lot of work to deconstruct the doll and put it back to normal to give it to her. It’s a hilarious sequence that keeps building and building.
1. Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight” – The train heist sequence
The basic set-up for this scene: Walt and Jesse need to steal methylamine from a freight train and replace it with water so that it still weighs the same. To accomplish this, Walt has a truck stall on the train tracks to stop the train long enough for Jesse and Todd to swap the methlyamine and water. The entire sequence of this action was so incredibly tense that I was rocking myself back and forth on the couch trying to calm myself. One things that I always ask when watching something is…what are the stakes? Why am I watching this? What are the characters trying to accomplish? Where is the conflict and tension? This scene could answer all of those questions and the stakes were incredibly high. This episode should easily win the Directing Emmy next year, but it probably won’t even get nominated because the Emmys don’t always go for quality. Either way, this scene was incredible and my favorite moment of the 2012 TV year.
That’s it for this list! I hope you enjoyed reading it. I wasn’t planning on going in-depth with all of these years, but it was hard not to justify and explain my choices. I know I probably forgot a lot of things and you might be questioning the order. But I tried to spread things out as much as possible and trying to include different types of genres. I’m working on my episodes list now. I’m not going to be doing write-ups for every episode, but I will be picking out the best scene from each episode to add a little something to the presentation.
Let me know what you thought. What did you think of the list? Did you agree or think I’m an idiot? What were some of your favorites? Leave me a comment below or use the Contact tab at the top of the page and we can doing an email conversation. Thanks for reading!